Every year on Good Friday, I gather with friends and family for a backyard crab boil, though crawfish, oysters, and shrimp are often on the menu. Sadly, locally fished crabs are quite scarce this year, two years post-Deepwater Horizon spill. No one really knows why, as estuary ecosystems are complex and the potential list of harm is long: too much freshwater from the Mississippi River, an especially cold winter last year, sludgy degraded oil on and near the bottom, Corexit, widespread “beach cleaning” and littoral zone habitat disturbance, etc.
Ironically, Louisiana’s blue crab industry was recently certified by the Marine Stewardship Council as a sustainable, well-managed harvest.
Read more about the lingering, seafood-harvest impacts of the spill:
- Outside magazine ran a nice piece chronicling the struggle of fishermen at the southern end of the Barataria Estuary.
- Daily Comet, November 2011, summarizes the challenges to tourism and seafood.